Lung Cancer What Women Need To Know

Lung Cancer What Women Need To Know

There's encouraging news for​ women in​ the​ fight against lung cancer. Although the​ incidence of​ lung cancer in​ women increased rapidly after World War II as​ more women began to​ smoke, that trend may finally be reversing. Recent studies show that lung cancer cases in​ women have leveled off for​ the​ first time.

However, according to​ the​ National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), raising awareness of​ the​ disease and​ its causes remain urgent. Despite the​ downward trend, lung cancer is​ still the​ leading cause of​ cancer-related deaths in​ men and​ women in​ the​ U.S. Lung cancer accounts for​ one in​ every four cancer deaths and​ one of​ every eight newly diagnosed cancers in​ women. Altogether, 173,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.

According to​ a​ new NWHRC report, Lung Cancer: What You Need to​ Know, women who smoke are 12 times more likely to​ get lung cancer than those who don't, yet more than one in​ five women continue to​ smoke.

Of the​ two main types of​ lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and​ small cell lung cancer (SCLC), women who smoke are more likely to​ be diagnosed with SCLC, the​ more aggressive form.

Smoking cigarettes, cigars and​ pipes remains the​ leading cause of​ lung cancer, accounting for​ nearly nine out of​ 10 cases.

However, you don't have to​ smoke to​ get lung cancer. Breathing other people's smoke can also affect you. Studies show spouses of​ smokers have a​ 20 to​ 30 percent greater chance of​ developing the​ disease than those of​ nonsmokers. Other causes include exposure to​ harmful substances in​ the​ home or​ workplace, such as​ radon or​ asbestos, and​ some people seem to​ be more vulnerable.

Quitting smoking at​ any age reduces the​ risk but the​ degree of​ risk depends on the​ length of​ time since quitting and​ how heavily the​ person smoked. Aside from quitting or​ never starting to​ smoke, people can minimize their risks by reducing exposure to​ harmful substances. a​ small percentage of​ people may be genetically susceptible to​ lung cancer.

Symptoms include a​ persistent cough, blood-stained phlegm or​ spit, shortness of​ breath, chest pain, recurring pneumonia or​ bronchitis, loss of​ appetite or​ unexplained weight loss.

Recent advances in​ lung cancer treatment have contributed to​ improved patient survival and​ quality of​ life.

Treatments may include surgery to​ remove the​ cancer, radiation to​ kill or​ shrink cancer cells, chemotherapy and​ newer targeted therapies or​ a​ combination of​ these treatments.

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